Portraiture

One of the three Armada portraits of Queen Elizabeth I

Three Portraits of Victorious Elizabeth I to Be Displayed Together for the First Time

The paintings were created in the wake of England’s defeat of the Spanish Armada

The Charles Dickens Museum Acquires ‘Lost’ Portrait of the Author as a Young Man

The 1843 painting by Margaret Gillies surfaced at an auction in South Africa in 2017

Julie Packard (detail) by Hope Gangloff

Women Who Shaped History

Fishes Were Julie Packard’s Wishes for Her New Smithsonian Portrait

National Portrait Gallery unveils a painting honoring the renowned ocean conservationist and director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

In 1917 when it was highly unusual for women to protest, a suffrage procession walked the streets of Washington, D.C. towards the White House carrying purple, white and gold banners.

Women Who Shaped History

How Women Got the Vote Is a Far More Complex Story Than the History Textbooks Reveal

An immersive story about the bold and diverse women who helped secure the right to vote is on view at the National Portrait Gallery

Cool Finds

Museum of the Dog Takes Manhattan

After 30 years in St. Louis, the American Kennel Club museum is back in the Big Apple, with artifacts, portraits and a kiosk that matches people to dogs

Mother III (detail) by Yun Suknam, (2013 version), 1993

Breakthrough Korean Feminist Artist Yun Suknam in Her First U.S. Museum Exhibition

With an assemblage portrait of her mother as the focal piece, the artist’s work is surrounded by the works of those who inspired her

Alice Neel Self-Portrait by Alice Neel, 1980

History's Selfies: Looking at Artists Looking at Themselves

National Portrait Gallery closes out 50-year anniversary celebration after widening the view to include more women, diverse backgrounds and emerging media

L to R: Paul Stabler, "Charles Obach" (circa 1870–79) and Jacobus de Louw, "Vincent van Gogh" (1873)

Employer Who Pushed Van Gogh to New Career Path Revealed in Studio Photo

An 1870s photograph of Charles Obach, one-time manager of the London Goupil Gallery branch, was found in the National Portrait Gallery's collections

A modern retelling of the classic arrives in theaters September 28, while director Greta Gerwig plans another remake of the film for late 2019.

Why 'Little Women' Endures 150 Years Later

The author of a new book about the classic says the 19th-century novel contains life lessons for all, especially for boys

Sofonisba Anguissola, "Self-Portrait at the Easel Painting a Devotional Panel," 1556

Madrid’s Prado Museum Will Spotlight Pioneering Duo of Female Renaissance Artists

Lavinia Fontana is widely considered the first professional female artist, while Sofonisba Anguissola served as Philip II of Spain’s court painter

The portrait John S. McCain III by Steve Pyke, 2005, went of view today at the National Portrait Gallery in memory of the U.S. Senator who died August 25.

The Portrait That Captures the Defining Features of John McCain’s Life and Career

A photograph of the straight-talking Arizona senator goes on view In Memoriam at the Portrait Gallery

Few oil paintings exist of prominent early-20th century African-Americans (above: Portrait of Clarence Muse and Elliot Carpenter by Woodard's Studio, ca. 1937), but the photographic record is much richer, says Kate Lemay.

How Can Museums Democratize Portraiture?

As the National Portrait Gallery turns 50, it is asking how well its collections represent the people—and where there is room for improvement

Researchers at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas, have attributed the painting to British portraitist and illustrator John Vanderbank

Have Researchers Unraveled the Six-Decade Mystery of a Kansas Museum Portrait?

The team believes it has identified the rightful artist behind ‘Mrs. Thomas Pelham,’ a nearly life-size portrait depicting an 18th-century aristocrat

Tracey Emin, "Death Mask," 2002

This Initiative Is Loaning Artwork Back to the Communities They're Most Associated With

Britain's National Portrait Gallery's 'Coming Home' initiative will loan portraits to the towns and cities most closely associated with their subjects

Rare Landscape Attributed to Lucian Freud Discovered Underneath Another Work

Freud's friend, the little-known artist Tom Wright appears to have recycled a canvas that was left unfinished by the famed portraitist

Among the colorful characters immortalized in the colorless daguerreotype medium are (clockwise from upper left): writer Henry Thoreau, Seneca leader Blacksnake, Navy Commodore Matthew Perry, mental health crusader Dorothea Dix, showmen P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb, and actress Charlotte Cushman.

How Daguerreotype Photography Reflected a Changing America

The National Portrait Gallery brings the eerie power of a historic medium into focus

Silhouettes of Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant of Weybridge, Vermont, (c. 1805-1815) is possibly the first depiction of a same sex couple.

Rarely Seen 19th-Century Silhouette of a Same-Sex Couple Living Together Goes On View

A new show, featuring the paper cutouts, reveals unheralded early Americans, as well as contemporary artists working with this old art form

Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine by Kadir Nelson (detail, above) is on view at the National Portrait Gallery through November 4, 2018.

Women Who Shaped History

Famed for “Immortal” Cells, Henrietta Lacks is Immortalized in Portraiture

Lacks's cells gave rise to medical miracles, but ethical questions of propriety and ownership continue to swirl

American Farm Hand by Sandor Klein, 1937

How Portraiture Gave Rise to the Glamour of Guns

American portraiture with its visual allure and pictorial storytelling made gun ownership desirable

Ahmad Shah (r. 1909–25) and his cabinet   by Assadullah al-Husayni naqqash-bashi, 1910

In Persia’s Dynastic Portraiture, Bejeweled Thrones and Lavish Decor Message Authority

Paintings and 19th century photographs offer a rare window into the lives of the royal family